Feminism is a prickly thing. It inherently divides men from women (though it shouldn't), and white women from people of color (which it absolutely should not). Then, it splinters off into even more fractured territory, as you wade into non-cisgender rights, cultural differences—you get the idea. But back to white women. More of them than I'd like to admit seem to have a hard time participating in intersectional feminism, and celebrities are among them. Need an example? Patricia Arquette, who infamously announced during her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech that it was time for gays and people of color to stand up for "women's rights." As if women can't be gay or non-white.
A more recent and less idiotic example is Emma Watson, who's just now coming around to the concept of exclusive feminism. In an open letter to her book club, Our Shared Self, Watson described the moment when her role in feminism began to be magnified. "When I gave my UN speech in 2014, so much of what I said was about the idea that 'being a feminist is simple!' Easy! No problem!"
Then, she writes, things got a little complicated. "When I heard myself being called a 'white feminist' I didn't understand (I suppose I proved their case in point). What was the need to define me—or anyone else for that matter—as a feminist by race? What did this mean? Was I being called racist? Was the feminist movement more fractured than I had understood? I began... panicking."
Anywho, she says she's since begun intentionally working on connecting with feminists of color to better understand the challenges they face, on top of (finally) learning how to use her privilege and status to boost them up. Watson says this partnership has ultimately led to her growth. "As human beings, as friends, as family members, as partners, we all have blind spots; we need people that love us to call us out and then walk with us while we do the work."
Welcome to intersectional feminism, girl.